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George Mason University tuition moderately increased for 2016-17

George Mason Board of Visitors May 5 approved the university’s $1 billion budget for the 2016-17 academic year. This includes a 2.7 percent increase in tuition, fees, room and board for in-state students and more money for financial aid. Summer tuition and fees will not increase in 2016, according to a GMU press release.

The board was able to keep next year’s tuition increase modest in part because of state budget investments in higher education, the release said.  The Commonwealth’s budget for next year includes increased operating funds for financial aid—for undergraduate and graduate students—and salary increases for faculty and staff. In addition, the state budget includes funds for a major renovation of Robinson Hall.

“We are grateful to Governor Terry McAuliffe and the General Assembly for the investment in higher education in general and George Mason University in particular,” Mason President Ángel Cabrera was quoted as saying in the press release.

The university’s 2016-17 annual budget totals $1 billion. That is a 2.4 percent increase from the current year. The budget also includes a $4.2 million increase in financial aid, 7.2 percent higher than the current academic year.

As part of the budget, the board provided $2.8 million for university priorities outlined in the 10-year strategic plan. That money will support student services, research investment, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and Stay Mason—a program designed to help students at risk of dropping out due to unexpected financial hardships.

“This budget shows our commitment—and the Commonwealth’s commitment—to our students, faculty and staff,” Mason Rector Tom Davis was quoted as saying in the press release. “By giving Mason’s faculty and staff a much-needed pay raise, it will help Mason retain talented people who serve our students. The university has also taken important steps to support those students who are most in need.”

Mason is routinely cited as one of the best values in higher education, and next year’s budget stays committed to that goal.

For 2016-17, the total cost for in-state students—which includes tuition, fees, room and board—will increase 2.7 percent to $22,030, or $568 more than the current academic year. The cost for out-of-state students will increase 2.9 percent to $43,312, or a $1,204 increase.

Tuition and fees alone for in-state students will cost $11,300, or $348 higher than the current academic year. For out-of-state students, those costs will be $32,582, or $984 higher.

Tuition and fee rates for the 2016 summer term will not increase, the press release stated.

Mason is the largest public research university in Virginia. More than 34,000 students attend Mason from 130 countries and all 50 states. In fall 2015, Mason welcomed its largest freshman class to date—3,256––as well as more than 8,500 new degree-seeking students.

Recent graduates earn the highest median salaries among their peers at other Virginia institutions, according to State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) data.

Mason’s 2015-16 freshman class has one in three students who are first-generation college students, and half are from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds. Mason has no disparity in six-year graduation rates among racial and ethnic groups, according to the press release.

The four- and six-year graduation rates have increased steadily. Since 2010, the rate of Mason graduates landing jobs within six months of graduation has risen from 66 to 74 percent, the release stated.

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